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Here’s What Provident Financial Holdings Inc’s (NASDAQ:PROV) P/E Is Telling Us

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Provident Financial Holdings Inc’s (NASDAQ:PROV) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, Provident Financial Holdings’s P/E ratio is 31.02. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.2%.

Check out our latest analysis for Provident Financial Holdings

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Provident Financial Holdings:

P/E of 31.02 = $17.34 ÷ $0.56 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. That isn’t necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

Provident Financial Holdings increased earnings per share by a whopping 30% last year. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 23%, annually, over 5 years.

How Does Provident Financial Holdings’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (17.8) for companies in the mortgage industry is lower than Provident Financial Holdings’s P/E.

NasdaqGS:PROV PE PEG Gauge November 2nd 18
NasdaqGS:PROV PE PEG Gauge November 2nd 18

That means that the market expects Provident Financial Holdings will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

How Does Provident Financial Holdings’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 24% of Provident Financial Holdings’s market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Bottom Line On Provident Financial Holdings’s P/E Ratio

Provident Financial Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 31, which is above the US market average of 18.5. Its debt levels do not imperil its balance sheet and it has already proven it can grow. Therefore it seems reasonable that the market would have relatively high expectations of the company

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Provident Financial Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.